tv Washington Journal CSPAN January 11, 2011 7:00am-10:00am EST
>> president obama and michelle obama residing over a national moment to pray and reflect on the tragedy. members of congress along with hundreds of congressional aides stood on the steps of the capital, heads down in silence. today the flat remains at half staff. welcome to "washington journal" this morning. remains athe flag
half staff. phone numbers are on your screen. start dialing in now. here is what is on the federal books today. therare veral laws that are already put in place. the national firearms act of 1934, which imposes a tax on the manufacturing and transfer of certain firearms and implemented registration of firearms. the gun control act of 1968 regulated the firearms industry as well as interstate commerce. the firearms owners protection act in 1986 revise the gun control act of 1968 and what did some of the restriction on interstate commerce. and then the brady handgun violence pension act. the required federal background
host: would you take a look at who is in eligible to get guns, this is what the federal law says. those that have been honorably discharged from -- dishonorably discharged from the armed services. convicted felons and those convicted of domestic violence crimes. or those that have been institutionalized. in a legal or unlawful aliens. renounced u.s. citizens. -- illegal or unlawful aliens. they check files for wanted persons, protection orders and deported felons. we will get your phone calls in just a minute. a little bit more from the editorial. they go on to talk about the assault weapons ban.
what are your thoughts this morning? are republican. should the gun laws be changed? what are your thoughts? i was inn the 1960's debate class and our debate teacher was a french teacher as well. during that time, during that class, we have the information that president kennedy had been assassinated. host: ok. caller: our teacher told us
something then, he told us that violence breeds violence. every day we saw what was happening during that time. one of the young students and our school, about a year later went around saying he was bored to create a perfect crime. everyone in the school thought whatever. he killed two girls and it affected the whole school. later on he was convicted and was charged with drug induced sanity. he spent some time in the institution, and then he was released from that institution. he came back to the home town where i live. we were working together and 10 years later he came up to me and
told me he was going to shoot me. i went to the police and turned him in. they put him back into the institution and he actually passed away into the institution, because of intoxication. host: what does this mean for gun laws? caller: i think it means we have to look at the person and not what they have done, but the mental illness they have. i work in an institution now with mentally unstable people, and one of the individuals i work with is exactly the same type as the person in arizona. we have a program here where we have a monitored program and
have a way to keep them in the community but keep a guard on them. it is expensive, half a million dollars a year, but we watched the person on a continuous basis. they did not have weapons, but we keep them in the community. the tragedy in the arizona state and others, there are more people that are victims. host: we will have to leave it there. john on the independent line from michigan. you are on the air. caller: with respect to changes in the gun laws, it seems to me that open carry -- it is that there was that someone there that was in a small enough crowd that they were defending themselves. explain what that means
for gun laws. change or not change? what do you think? caller: i really do not see any change that would be called for. host: if you take a look at arizona gun laws right now, individuals can carry a concealed weapon without a permit. they are allowed in most public buildings. any law-abiding resident older than 18 can buy or possess a firearm. in the papers this morning, --
very glad we passed the republican objections, strategic arms reduction. that is not the only thing we need, but the second amendment people love to cry about how they need their gun, but if you read the phrase, well-regulated militia. this mentally ill person was not a person a member of a well- regulated militia. i am not a lawyer, but i think common sense says what is going on in mexico with all of the guns -- the drug laws need to be changed, too. it is crazy to have legalized tobacco and alcohol. host: what more can be done? the national firearms act of 1934 regulated by your arms and
have them registered. then you have the gun control act in 1968, which went further to regulate interstate commerce and manufacturing in transferring of guns. caller: you confer start are re- examining the second amendment. and -- you can first arch by re- examining the second amendment. and they love to say the constitution is etched in stone but they ignore what they want to ignore and they interpret wrong way. i do not want to contribute to the right and left debate, that is part of the thing that needs to be calm down, but will the mean-spirited people who were so anxious to kill somebody please take a look at the constitution and use some reason and quit thinking that you have the right to kill whoever you think you need to kill. host: gregor republican from
florida. -- greg is a republican from florida. caller: i think that the people that are using this politically art as despicable as the people that shperson that shot these p and guns do not have an intent, it is the people that use them that have the intent. i think the law should stay the same and be in force. there might be something they can do in educating students that are going to college to notice when someone looks like they're becoming somebody like the person that we saw appear again in every instance we have gone through with all of the assassination attempt on anybody most of the people were unhinged people.
they were saying his neighbors thought he was really weird. why didn't they tell somebody? they need to have a system where that is done. host: according to a fairer -- according to federal law if you have been verified by the court to be mentally unstable you are not allowed to get a gun. here is "the washington post" on this issue.
on his mental state. joining us on the phone is our representative up carolyn mccarthy who lost her husband in 1993 in a mass shooting. -- and joining us on the phone is representative carolyn mccarthy. we are wondering what specifically you are looking to do and when might this bill be brought up for consideration? guest: thank you for having me on this morning. what i will be doing is trying to the end the clips that were
in the shooting in arizona. they were for 10 years with the assault weapons ban expired in 2004. unfortunately those large capacity clips were back on the market. and i believe very strongly that what those large capacity clips of lives could have been saved. people have to understand that when you have clips that can go up to 33 bullets in a clip, and certainly the shooter in arizona have them on his person, more people could have been killed at the end. the large clips were also in the shooting of the long island railroad. this is very personal for me. certainly any lives we can save or injuries we can save to prevent it from happening is for me worth the effort of going
forward with this. a number of senators have already started working on legislation with me on this. i am hoping that talking to leadership and members of congress, i will go down to washington today, hopefully i will have enough support to get this bill through sometime this year. host: the director of communications for the gun owners of america writes that trying to introduce legislation like you're talking about, the band would not stop thugs from getting them. it would impact good americans who do not like breaking the law. guest: i think those views are little bit extreme. you will still be able to buy a clip, and it would have to 10
bullets in it. we want our police officers to have those particular clips. we also want our military to be able to have it. an average citizen walking around with those particular clips, we see things like this happening a little bit more frequently. the whole idea is to have common sense to reduce gun violence in this country. anything we can do is my job to protect people. host: the national rifle association argues, as they did back in 2007, when you try to reintroduce an assault ban after the virginia tech shooting basic congress allowed the a chance of 2004 for multiple reasons.
guest: do not believe that. we are seeing more assault weapons. when you use the word assault weapons that covers a lot of guns. what happens with the assault weapons ban, the gun manufacturers came up with new guns and attachments that you could make a gun into an assault weapon. they did not follow the letter of the wall either. to be very honest with you, the nra and other organizations continue with the rhetoric that is out there that everyone in the country should be armed. we have more people owning guns than any other nation in the world, and yet we have the highest amount, unfortunately, of killings and shootings and suicides than any other country in the world. what i am saying is it is
false of costing the health care system over billion dollars per year to take care of those that survive it. we need to have the common sense dialogue on gun safety issues so that we can save more americans from going through certainly the pain of being shot, but certainly trying to save lives. when you lose 10,000 lives in this country alone because of gun violence and then you add on another 20,000 from accidents or deaths and suicides, that is a lot of people that die. we can do a better job. we can and we should. nra noted the proposal you put forward then with a handgun legislation but they and millions of more guns as well. are you introducing the same legislation that you try to
introduce in 2007? would you not only tried to put a ban on assault weapons but other weapons as well? guest: you have to understand this is a pro-gun house and senate. i certainly will be introducing it. we always change the bill around a little bit so hopefully we can get more support, but the chances of introducing that kind of a bill in passing is probably, it just will not happen. let's go back to the clips. this is a common-cents gun safety issue for me. the average citizen does not need to have a gun that will have up to 33 bullets in the clip. -- this is a common-sense gun safety issue for me. king members are using these against police officers. -- gang members are using these
against police officers. what happened in arizona is a perfect example unfortunately. luckily when the shooter went to reload his clip he was knocked down and the clip was taken out of his hand. with that being said, what if he had loaded, how many more people would have been killed and injured? i think we have to start looking at the gun safety laws in this country into a police are working together to come up with better laws in this country. host: the "politico" says this this morning.
host: is there a senator that has contacted you or member of congress that surprise you and that you think there could be maybe some bipartisan support for this? guest: there are two or three senators right now that are writing legislation. i will work with them. i always look to bipartisan support. there are other republicans that will work with me on this issue. any legislation that i do i always look for bipartisan support. host: where were you on saturday when you found out about the shootings in tucson and what do think about expanded security for herself and other members of congress? guest: i was home. i was taking afternoon to be honest with you to write my bills out.
when you're in washington the majority of the time, when you get home you do monday things like go to the cleaners and pay your bills. with that being said anything that has to do with gun violence -- as i was watching the breaking news, i put everything down and just watched it. it was probably a good hour before we found out it was one of my colleagues. tomorrow we will be meeting with capitol hill police. we will go over procedures. they have been working with local law enforcement officers for our security. most of us, we all get hate letters and certainly we get angry constituents at town hall meetings, but i have never felt that my life was our risat risk.
i believe we have to tone down the rhetoric a little bit. being in congress for 14 years, i can say that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle are good people. at times we disagree. among those i worked with and talk with we do not yell and scream at each other. we might disagree but we always try to find common ground. with that being said, obviously in the world we're living in today with the anchor that is anger re -- witht h the that is out there we might need to look at different security measures. that will not stop me from meeting with my constituents. host: carolyn mccarthy, thank you for your time. rockwell, maryland. matthew a democrat. what is your opinion on changing the gun laws?
caller: i waited patiently. please give me a little time to make a brief observation. we are in an orgy of the nile. we cannot use political expediency to rectify a problem such as this. there is already plenty of books for gun-control. congress took away the state's efforts to verify gun purchases. president obama promised during the campaign that he would try to resolve that issue. it has not been done since. i am calling in honor of christina taylor and brian clark. there will not be any more changes to the mall that will rectify the problem because you by one of the most powerful lobbies on earth. the nra will not tolerate this
unfortunately. congress should give the people right back to the states to look at where the guns are being purchased. all the other killers, it will not change anything. we have been caught dead on target with this nonsense. host: we got your point. its three years. he was stoic when his sentence was pronounced but his wife and daughter broke into tears. the sentence will not stand his attorney says. 58 disagrees. politico is reporting tom delay
saying i cannot be remorseful for something i do not think i did. -- the da disagrees. caller: this is bill calling from mississippi. i am 35-years old and i am a fire fighter, however, i disagree that people should have guns because they killed. also, i think the gun laws should be changed to where people do not have guns at all. second of all, i wanted to know if congress is thinking about having a hearing about the shooting that is going on and arizona. host: we have not heard about any specific hearings on that issue, but we will let you know. this is from steve in arizona.
that is a story in "usa today." looking at the security around her a bed this past weekend. legislators say share it did not safeguard the rally. in saying the shooting receive state debate over gun control. -- saying the shooting reheats state debate over gun control. caller: i am an ordinary citizen . i do not own a gun, but i think we're missing the issue when we think and control is at the heart of what is going on here. ed i am distressed we do not see
this as a mental health issue. we really need to make mental- health available. available to young people. it should be part of our coverage, and we need to help people understand that there are better ways to handle their frustration and anger. there is a lot of anger. i think ordinary citizens often feel that their representative is not whalistening to them, and they do not really know how to handle a small crisis they are having in their lives. a lot of young people
seeing the way to handle things is making a terrific, bold statement whether it is taking a gun and shooting it into a crowd or turning it on themselves and committing suicide. i really wish that part of the debate would be helping people have access to mental health, but not be labeled just because they are accessing the mental help -- host: got your point. mr. loughner was arrested in 2007 for possession of drug paraphernalia. he successfully completed a court diversion program. writesw york times"right thi
this -- columbus, ohio. martin on the democratic line. go ahead. and caller: i heard the young lady say she has never been put in that position. i grew up in an area where we are put in a position to protect ourselves all of the time. i wonder how she would feel if she only had 10 rounds when someone else is going out there and getting 30 rounds. you have to stop preaching to the choir. the choir is not the one getting the high-powered weapons.
saying the choir of the needs 10 rounds is insane. you know how long it takes for the police to get there and you were there with 10 rounds to protect your family? it only takes a couple of seconds to get the round off and then the guy gets opportunity to reload. he is not respecting the law. he is not the choir. to make laws for him would be insane. they are going to get the weapons. they are going to get them, so we need to quit preaching of the choir and quit making laws for people. and we understand that we should not be out here killing people. we just want to protect ourselves. like the congress they said, she is never been put in that position. a lot of people live a comfortable life and they say let's make another lot. -- a lot of people live a comfortable life and they say let's make another law.
host: cincinnati, ohio, john on the republican line. hoscaller: i would like to say f you start controlling guns, the only people that will have them as criminals. i know that has been said many times, but it is true. it is just like drugs. the average person does not do drugs but the person who does them still seems to find them. gun-control is not the answer. i agree with "the new york times" segment that you just read about better background checks need to be done. and as far as banning guns for average citizens is insane. i own guns. i have never shot anyone. the average person is not going
to go out and shoot someone. someone who is deranged like this guy, clear the the sky was not stable. you have to develop a better background checks of people like that do not get guns. you cannot ban all guns because then only criminals will have guns. host: "the washington journal" talks about the politics of this. -- "the washington post" talks about the politics of this.
justfacts.com. we found from the 1998 election cycle to 2010 election cycle this is total contributions. 22.5 million. 85% went to republicans. those that oppose gun control groups spent 1.9 million in total contributions. 84% of that going to democrats. host: joe from virginia. caller: in defense of nra, which i am a member of. when the virginia tech incident happened, one of the first statements they made is they did not oppose having mental records being part of the gun background check. the medical profession or people
having that part of your background check because the patient privilege. you need to take -- you need to call it what it is. number two, we all know from this that gun control does not work. that is just a farce to start off with. we need to start enforcing the laws that we already have on the books in a more vigilant manner than we are now with just a slap and putting people back on the street. like a previous calller said, he owns guns, and i own a few guns and i owned what i need
for my own house protection or target shooting, but we should make its -- put more of a responsibility on the gun people who are selling these guns legally that clips like that, 30-round clips, the normal average person coming in off the street has no need for that type of clip. host: we will have to leave it there. "the hill" reporting this this morning. susan crabtree reporting. she joins us on the phone. talk to us about security for members of congress. guest: members we talked to said local law enforcement can handle this up when it comes to district events. if you expect a threat or
nervous about a rally or even to commit they will sprovide the security at right. a democrat from south carolina is saying that they do not know what the protocol is right now and are burnable in airports flying coach, so can we have tsa protocols or can't than the provide a better support for members flying. and also, a republican from indiana is pushing for showing how vulnerable members really are. of congressber has asked for legislation that would make it a federal crime if you say something or use
symbolism that would incite violence against a member of congress. is there any moment of for that type of legislation? -- is there any momentum for that type of legislation? guest: right now it is a crime to threaten the president, but not a crime to threaten members of congress. they often receive threats. i have not really seen a lot of momentum about that, because members of congress do not want to change any type of access they have with the public. i heard that time and time again. jack kingston was a big voice on that issue. host: paul writes the same in
"the new york times", y politicians need to stay out in the open. he served from 1985 to 2011. thank you very much. ken are republican is next. should the gun laws be changed? caller: i have to address congresswomen mccarthy's statement. coming from new york where we no crime is very prominent, instead of working federal legislation perhaps she needs to work on more local legislation and new york legislation to try to help new york individuals introduce legislation to protect us. in regards to restricting gun use, i think that is something that is granted to as fundamentally by the constitution as many of the other callers are stating, but i
think we really have to find other ways to address this. i think that the one provided a measure shoestring to introduce by restricting the ban on guns will really not the best of the right direction. as another calller mentioned if people want to get guns, they will find a way to get them. in i see a lot of other crimes in new york such as drugs, and of course that is illegal but you do not see people stopping to address this issue. i absolutely -- i am not sure what to think about members of congress opposing legislation against bands of threat. one of the fundamental rights
is being able to interact with them and they should be placed on the same level that we are. i think it keeps us at the same level. host: that was 10, a republican from new york. -- that was ken. obama will travel to tucson on wednesday to attend and address a memorial service for the victims of the shooting. the university of arizona basketball arena. that is "the washington post" with the president's schedule. a couple more phone calls on
changing the gun laws. go ahead. caller: i listen to your show quite frequently. very interesting. now we are on this gun law issue. my thing is i am listening about the shootings in tucson is why would a 22-year-old man do this? now he is mentally ill. it is like you are giving excuses. not you personally, but it is like you are giving excuses why this person did it instead of saying he did it because he is angry or whatever or somebody incited him to do it. now you're on gun issues and mental health issues. there are a lot of people that
are mentally ill and they do not pick up guns and going around killing people. asone is a deep-seated recen why this guy did it. host: one count of attempted assassination of a member of congress, life in prison. count to three, murder of a judge. count four and five, attempted murder of pamela simon and ron barber, 20 years in prison. and"the new york times" front page says the attorney signal she attended to push for the case to be handled by an out-of- state judge since one of the victim's heart client is accused of killing was a federal district judge.
albany, new york. independent calller. go ahead. caller: the lady from ohio release of my thunder but i was an agreement with her. -- really stole my thunder but i was in agreement with her. i have not heard anyone say profiling. we need to start profiling some of these young, white males. they're very angry and violent perio. the list can go on and on with the young, white males. we have to start talking about profiling white males, too. i believe the ohio calller was correct. we talk about profiling from everything to the airport, we
need to start profiling some of these young, white, and e-mails. -- angry mails. we need to start addressing some of these issues with these young, white, angry males. if this was a person of color, there would be no issues of he is crazy. we would not be talking about we would talk about the death penalty. host: vice-president joe biden talking about pulling out u.s. troops. here is "the wall street journal."
as you know, if you go to c- span.org, we're covering the state of the state addresses. go to our website, c-span.org, to follow coverage. in the papers there is another headline this morning. the inspector general for afghanistan will resign amid pressure from lawmakers. they have called his agency a feeling organization. that is in "the washington post" this morning. first, up next, a discussion of the u.s. business community and job creation with the u.s. commerce. we will be right back. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011]
>> thank you very much, mr. president and vice president. you have honored me and my family by giving me an opportunity to serve you and serve our nation. >> with more than 80 appearances by william daley, you could use the c-span video library to learn more about the newest additions to the obama administration. just two of them almost 150,000 people you can search and watch any time on line at our c-span video library. it is washington your way. >> middle and high school students, it is time to upload
your video for the c-span be a documentary contest. get your bdo to c-span by january 24 your chance to win the grand prize of $5,000. -- get your video to c-span by january 20 for your chance to win the grand prize of $5,000. >> "washington journal" continues. host: the white house announced last friday that the president will be addressing the u.s. chamber of commerce on february 7. and what are you going to hear from it? guest: we are happy to have him come over. we have been talking to the white house for a good opportunity for the president to come over. we think it is a good time.
we want to hear about their plans for the economy and the role business can play in terms of job creation. we're happy to have him and happy to hear what he has to say. host: you say the timing is good. why is that? guest: we are at an interesting time in the economy. and we see some positive signs, and if we do it right, we could get to really good job growth and economic growth. if we screw it up, we will go right back into a recession. it is a key time for the economy. it is a key time for politics, and which direction will we take? host: what is the right formula? guest: there are a couple of easy steps right off the bat. one of them is trade. we have free trade agreement with korea. that would be a good start for stake in the ground.
we think commerce and trade are a way out of this. infrastructure investment. this is an area where we are supportive of additional spending, and where it would be easy to make investments that would promote job growth going forward in the future. education reform certainly is an area where we can work with the administration. also, not doing stupid stuff. taking a step back on some of the regulatory aggressiveness that the administration has had, and also being really careful about what we're doing on taxes going forward. host: take a step back on regulatory things. are you talking about elizabeth warren and the consumer protection agency? guest: that is one. there is this a nominee -- tsunami of protection agencies coming from the administration. you name it, what business sees
is hundreds and hundreds of new regulations coming out that thed that does not help stop creation. host: this as an article and they say the appointment of william daley to be the new chief of staff at the white house is an effort they say. although he is in support of better and matriculation for the financial sector. do you see it that way? guest: i do not think he would describe her that way. but we talked about the appointment. we have been very supportive. we think it is a good idea they're appointing william daley to the chief of staff. he has spent his career in the intersection of the political world and business. it was a great choice. we're very happy about it.
i do not think you should over interpret whatever positions he took in his professional life of j.p. morgan or otherwise to indicate what he will do as chief of staff, and i certainly do not think he would describe his job as muddling elizabeth ward. -- elizabeth warren. host: the republicans in the house have looked at cutting spending when it comes to that. what are you planning to do with the afl cio? guest: infrastructure is investment. when you are building the bones of the economy, not just roads, which is what everybody thinks of, but telecommunications air traffic control systems, your building the bones for future economic growth. you will get a return on that
investment. it is not just what might be described as wasteful discretionary spending. this is an area where we do need to spend money. we are on the same side of a bunch of groups that see it as job-creating and good investment for the future of the economy. host: the chamber of commerce is pro stimulus? guest: we did support it. it was pretty controversial. i still get a lot of calls about it frankly. we made the decision on the stimulus at the time that it is what needs to be done. we wish it had been done better. host: when you say better, do you mean bigger? should there be a second round of stimulus? guest: we wish it had been more targeted. we would not describe it as a big new round of stimulus. the new tax bill will be stimulative.
an area where we could do an additional stimulus is infrastructure. host: how so specifically? guest: it is an area where we should raise money. the chamber has been supportive of an additional investment in fuel tax. that is spending that will return to you. it will return more money to you in the future than you put out today. host: another issue that congress will be debating is raising up the debt ceiling. guest: we will support raising of the debt ceiling. that vote itself is necessary to keep the finances of the u.s. government moving forward. we do very much promote the view that the government itself as a whole has to address long-term and deficits. that is ultimately about address in entitlement spending in this
economy. and host: our guest is the vice president and chief operating offericer of the u.s. chamber of commerce. a democrat from indiana your first. caller: good morning. what i really do see is a problem. if you look at institutions like the chamber of commerce, they have fought for complete unfettered child labor laws, but minimum wage standards, organized safety at the worksite, the food and drug act. they fight against every legislation. if the corporation has disgruntled shareholders, they look to cut that relations.
-- they look to shore up that relation. if they have a dedicated worker who was upset, they say if they do not like it here, there is the door. there is the problem. it is the worker who always gets the shaft. what we have seen over the past few decades is rising worker productivity and falling wages. that is what is driving the economy down. workers cannot buy products anymore. host: let's get a response. guest: the chamber is supportive of regulation. you need smart regulation but you also need rules around the economy. we also support the right of
workers to unionize. we are not for pure, as you say, lays a fair. i am sorry that you always feel workers get the shaft. -- laissex-faire. if we work for anything, it is for more growth in the economy. host: this is from stephen in illinois. guest: no, i would not describe an economy just as the movement of money. it is the heartbeat of a society where you are creating value, where people are creating goods and services that have higher
value for other people. we have had economic growth. the answer for all the folks out there, including those who have lost their job is increasing the pipe. more economic growth is good for everybody. host: another e-mail about elizabeth warren and the consumer protection agency. guest: we absolutely want consumers to be protected but this consumer protection financial bureau will have the amazing and unfettered authority to regulate past areas of the economy and we should all be concerned about that. host: if you are watching this morning and you want to send us a tweet, our hande is @cspanwj.
aaller: i was wondering what' long productivity decrease will mean for the economy. there will not be as many people needed to do the work. they will start to restrict hours for employees, distribute the work. what do you think about the big picture economics of what we need to produce more of? in american society, we have so much. around the world, there are people dying from hunger. how can we respond and produce more of what the world needs, and how can that factor into what we do? guest: as a general rule, the answer for almost every kind of economy is economic growth. societies do not get better, cleaner, more functioning as
they get poorer. you have to be able to afford things, help others -- c.vironmental controls, etetetet as to productivity, there has been tremendous increases in productivity. you see the same thing happening in different centuries. with farming, up to 50% of the population was involved with farming, but now we produce more food with fewer people. the challenge there is to move people where they are not needed and have them trained in the areas where they are needed. there is still tremendous demand. there was an article yesterday talking about engineers, skilled folks in the economy, and how you can work folks --
move folks from where they are not needed now to new parts of the economy. host: next phone call. caller: i understand the common citizen cannot donate money to the government'. there are a lot of people that want to give back to the country they love. backon't they have a give pay to the government so that people can give back to the government without being taxed to death? with some of these people making exorbitant salaries, let's all give a little bit to get the country back on track. guest: i will sept your assertion that you cannot
legally -- accept your assertion that you cannot legally give money to the government. i am not sure about that. we are fully behind people spending money as they wish. if some folks want to find a way to give more money to the federal government, we would be supportive of doing that. frankly, it is not a common view, maybe it should be. ultimately, it is your money, you should be able to do what you want with it. host: a tweet -- guest: we can get back to producing even more in the economy. one thing that people do not realize, people easily assert that we do not make anything here anymore. that is not true. manufacturing continues to grow.
also an area brother has been big productivity gains. -- where there has been big productivity gains. we are creating the circumstances where what to attract investment in manufacturing and every other segment of the economy here and get the pie bigger so we can absorb workers everywhere. host: kendall gill, indiana. francis. democratic line. caller: c-span has to have this on. i watched him in the senate, he is a hero. this man who works for the u.s. chamber caller: guest: caller: business chamber of commerce, --
host: what is your point about the book? caller: he is the hero that exposed bernie madoff. in the book it talks about how wall street is fixed against the little guy. guest: i did not read his book, although i am a fan of his. he was extraordinarily persistent in complaining to the fcc about malfeasance with madoff, and frankly, was not listened to. there was a huge failure at the sec that still needs to be examined and redressed. he is a hero in our economy. i will undertake to read the
book and a valley with his criticisms. certainly, there are problems on wall street, always has been. i appreciate your recommendation. host: "the new york post" has a piece about how republicans planning to cut $100 billion. i am wondering, from the chamber's perspective, what area do you want republicans to leave alone beyond infrastructure? guest: 1, two, three are going to be infrastructure. beyond that, there are a number of areas where we have to continue to invest. on the energy side, we have been supported in the past of subsidies for some areas of energy examination and exploration of new technologies. i think that should continue.
at the end of the day, we have to understand non-defense discretionary spending is 25% of the overall outlays. it is nice to cut their but that will not be the end of the deficit problem. host: republicans say they will not cut spending for seniors and national defence. guest: well, ethanol is a problem. when i was talking about new technologies, i was talking about subsidies for new solutions, including new batteries, technical solutions. ethanol subsidies, i do not know if the chamber formally has a position. i do not really believe in it. it is not the future of energy
use in this country. that would be an area that we would be fine seeing cut. host: subsidies across the board could save $6.5 billion. let's go to newport, florida. rick is an independent. caller: i understand in the past decade the chamber has argued for tax breaks for corporations that go overseas. i am not forgiving to corporations overseas. but when i look at what tax revenues these corporations have brought to our country as a percentage, they always seem to be dwindling in the past 20 years with our trade agreements. 1.5 million jobs going overseas in the past decade as opposed to happen million jobs created in the manufacturing sector here
in this country does not seem to be a policy that the u.s. chamber of commerce should be advocating. could i have your response? guest: let's talk about your tax point first. you have to understand the u.s. has a different tax system than any other major economy in the world. in the u.s., the tax income all over the world instead of a territorial tax system, what you make in the u.s.. that is different from just about every other country. as part of that, there is a will that money earned overseas is not taxed until it is brought home. our structure is a different set to bring money back to the country. we would argue to more of a territorial system, like every other economy. with investment overseas, you have to understand something.
right now, most of the big economic growth is occurring in other places and 95% of current and future consumers are overseas. businesses will invest where there is growth, where they see future benefit, and where they see customers. to some degree, that will be overseas. the u.s. will have to compete for those investment dollars. we think we can do so and win but we are not doing so right now. host: next phone call from bonnie. caller: the u.s. chamber of commerce is very good at creating jobs in china, india, so if this system is working so terribly, why have we seen seven quarters of record profits? these multinational businesses are sitting on trillions of
dollars. where are the jobs? you are right, the solution can be taxes, in the way of tariffs. if it is produced here or comes here, we will put a tariff on it, the way it used to be when we were a growing economy. we were not bleeding's 700,000 jobs a month. guest: two points to that. on a slap in taxes on anything coming from overseas, just be aware there is tremendous consumer benefit to things coming from overseas. things at the store are less expensive because they have been manufactured somewhere less expensive. so you would have to be ok with goods being much more expensive for the consumers, including the average working man and woman. with regard to the trillions in profit, you have to understand
companies have this money but they are only going to invest where they think it will make sense, where they see economic growth and opportunity. that can be the united states but we have to do things to encourage the view that this is a good place to invest. host: the south korean trade agreement is being discussed right now. where do you stand on that? guest: we will be working closely with the administration to fight to get the agreement passed by the congress. all trade deals are a close t zerovote. -- close vote. we anticipate a close vote here, too, but we expect to come out on top. we are hoping it will be in the
next month. host: 1 other fight the chamber is gearing up for, on opening day of congress last week, health care topped the agenda. what is your effort on this and why? guest: for all, house republicans are proposing a bill on repeal for the health care bill. we opposed that bill. we support that repeal effort but understand that that is unlikely to become law for a variety of reasons. so we need to focus on the more important thing which is how we can fix what was passed and what we might be able to add to it to improve it. we think the employer mandate that you described is a big mistake. it will drive up costs for employers at a time when we are
looking for them to hire. host: the health policy expert at the chamber is quoted in the piece as saying, "i think we can demonstrate the jobs are not being treated by that provision." where is the evidence? guest: i am afraid i do not have it with me. we could make james available. what you are describing is what we are hearing from our members, that we are this incentivizing them from hiring, mostly because of the uncertainty of what the cost will be. host: next phone call. brian on the republican line. caller: since world war ii, one of the best things that we produced was the automobile. how can we compete with the automobile industry when mexico and china are making $3 an hour
and then they will be sold back to us? half of chevrolet's out now made outside of north america. workersford's hourly are in europe. so when you sign these free trade agreements, when you do the math on this stuff, when you are signing these treaties, when it gets to the part of hourly wage, just because we are ahead of other countries, why do we always regress at the expense of the people? you guys do not do hair cuts. you shaved everyone's heads. there is no expendable money. when there are new factories building, like they are here, they are arguing $15 an hour. that does not give you any expendable money.
guest: first of all, we make a lot of cars in the united states. people always think about the big detroit manufacturers, but certainly, a member of the japanese and european makers make their cars for the u.s. market coming here in the u.s. you mentioned ford employees in europe. where are their customers? those are not low-wage employees. ultimately, ford, like chrysler, gm, nissan, toyota, are going to invest where it makes the most economic sense. we are all about creating the economic environment so that this place makes the most sense to invest. i think the car industry has a good future in the united states. host: included in the agreement is a provision to help the car
industry. how so? guest: basically, market access. there is a huge disparity in the number of cars imported and exported to korea, for example. the agreement gives some space for u.s. manufacturers to better establish themselves in korea. order, in particular, was focused on this, and they feel it gives them a good chance to succeed. host: an article in the "the wall street journal" -- is this an accurate description of your strategy? guest: we have been talking about employer mandate. we believe it has not been making sense and would like to
reduce the penalty. if you are trying to decide whether to hire someone, you are not as worried as the downside. we have supported the individual mandate. we are not part of a group of folks that are challenging that. host: texas. jim on the independent line. caller: i think our trade agreements are a huge problem. we call them free trade but we really need fair trade. things need to be enforced. we need to stick to our positions. our trading partners are creating a disadvantage.
our government is more and more addressing problems in a horrible way through these agencies and what not, and our government is becoming more and more illegitimate. of course, illegitimate governments are not favored by people. i do not want to go back to the earlier topic -- people see our government as being more and more illegitimate. as far as the federal government, we need to go back to a system that when something is clearly not fair, we need to address it.
guest: 1 common review, which the caller shares -- view, which the caller shares, is trade has been unpopular. we need to see this more as an opportunity rather than a threat. we have a great history in creating and producing things and sending them around the world. we are not going to get there again by shutting down the borders and hiding under the covers. we have to get to a place where this is a good place to invest and create things and export them. with respect to china, there are things about the china relationship that are not working right now. china is a big trading partner of the u.s., will always be, at least for the foreseeable future. it is in the interest of both countries to have a strong and
productive economic relationship. frankly, there are things, ways that the chinese government are approaching things that need to be addressed. there are some aspects that are not there. we need to sit down with them and fix it but not shutdown -- shut the door to future growth and opportunity. host: mark on the republican line from maybe, michigan. you are on the air. caller: thank you for taking my call. one of the main thing that government needs to do, local, state, national, is to stay out of the private sector. one thing that i have a pet peeve with is the minimum wage. if you have a mandate where big
bignesses, small businesses have to pay $9 an hour, whatever the minimum wage is, even though the person may not be skilled to do that job, and that is going to prevent people from hiring. it has actually caused unemployment to rise. eliminating the minimum wage and letting the business owners use their own discretion would be one step in the right direction of solving the employment problem we have in this country. host: minimum-wage? guest: as a matter of economic theory, we would agree with you. it does not help to have the government setting wage rates. it may help people feel good but it does not help job growth.
on the other side of the coin, you have to understand practical politics. some level of minimum wage is very popular and is something that we are going to have to get used to living with. it is a part of our system. host: another tweet -- i would disagree. creating the bones of the economy creates jobs. just look at the internet. look at the amazing growth and productivity -- companies that did not exist before that are now fortune 500 companies exist because of an infrastructure investment. we need to build upon those investments and look for new opportunity. host: rick in pennsylvania. democratic line. caller: good morning, c-span
viewers. my condolences to those in arizona. getting on to the topic here, chavern, would you support disclosure of campaign funds, and if you do not support, why? and secondly, which part of the consumer protection agency which mrs. ward will head up, are you opposed to and why? guest: let me start with the politics first. we did oppose the disclosure act because it did not protect all the participants in the political process fairly. usually, debates about disclosure usually come down to i want you to disclose but i do not have to. certainly, that was the way that
it came down in the bill with business. if you want to get to disclosure of all participants in the political process, i would be happy to talk to you but i have never seen that bill and i would be shocked if anybody proposed it. with regard to the consumer protection financial bureau, understand that it is an amazing and unprecedented future agency that is being created, in that it has its own budget claim on 10% of the budget of the federal reserve to do what it wishes. it is subject to the direction of a single director and has basically unfettered authority to look at every kind of credit or financial interaction between a business of any size and consumers. it is a lot more than mortgage
documents. if you think that this is about mortgage documents and credit cards, you are missing the vote a little bit. host: back to the health care law, it has been reported members of congress will be opposing health-care legislation. is that money well spent? guest: we spend a lot of money on a public advocacy campaign against health care legislation. we have talked about that for a long time. it is also no secret that we ultimately lost. you cannot put enough lipstick on that page, as they say. at the end of the day, we talked to the public a lot about what was wrong with the bill. there is more understanding about what is wrong with it. host: last phone call. skype on the independent line --
on the independent line. caller: how do you feel about these offshore businesses in the cayman islands? mobil oil got a rebate of $156 billion. michael bloomberg brings $250 million to his foundation tax- free. how do you feel this is going to help our economy and bring jobs back? guest: i am not certain about these companies you are talking about and taxes they are paying. i think your numbers on exxon mobile are wrong. they actually pay a lot of taxes. mayor bloomberg providing money
to his foundation, ultimately, that is the way the taxes are written, to incentivize the people to do that. ultimately, what i can say is, are there bad things that happen in a situation? yes. is the answer to shut down the economy and move back to farming? probably not a good idea. we need to figure out how to fix the economy and grow the economy. host: that was our last call for chavern.hbur nina olson will be here with us to talk about the u.s. tax code. first, representative don edwards, a democrat from maryland, will be -- donna edwards, a democrat from maryland, will be here to talk about the shooting in arizona.
>> vice-president joe biden is in afghanistan. in remarks earlier, he said america will not cut and run in 2014 when the u.s. turned over control to afghan forces. the vice-president also said training and aid will continue after u.s. responsibility for security is handed over. defense secretary robert gates traveling in china says north korea's development of new weapons and long-range missiles poses a direct threat to the u.s. the secretary predicted north korea would have a limited ability to deliver a weapon to u.s. shores within five years using intercontinental ballistic missiles. secretary of state hillary clinton hull landed earlier today in the yemen under tight security. she meets with yemeni leaders to ask them to do more to crack down on extremism.
secretary clinton is the first secretary of state to visit the country in 20 years. >> we provide coverage of politics, political affairs, nonfiction books, and american history. it is all available to you online and on social media networks. we take c-span on the road with our digital bus and local content vehicle. it is washington, your way. host: we want to welcome back representative donna edwards, democrat of maryland. thank you for talking to our viewers. let's turn our attention to what happened over the weekend in tucson and where you were when
you heard about it. guest: i was at a retreat with my district staff, preparing for the upcoming congress. it was really quite sobering. host: how did you hear about it? guest: we heard a notice from half-hour blackberries. at first i had thought that it could not be true. she and i share a seat on the science and technology committee. she was a friend. it was just really devastating to hear. host: the blackberry message, was that from the capitol police, something that all members of congress heard about at the same time? npr alert.it was an
we tried various things for different reasons. we waited to hear from the capitol police to get some clarity. it was devastating. host: when you finally got word from the capitol police, how did all of that work? guest: that was about one hour after the incident had been reported. they wanted to be sure they had the most accurate information to report to us, which they did. they wanted to make sure that we were taking care of our own security as well. they mentioned that they did not believe it was part of any bigger conspiracy or plan and it was important for them to give us that assurance as we were
concerned about our colleagues. host: there was a conference call on sunday with members of congress and capitol police. i understand there were hundreds of people on that call. were you on that? guest: yes, i was. i understand there were about 800 of us. both political leaders, speaker boehner and speaker pelosi, led the call. host: what did they say? guest: they call for prayer and
support for our colleagues, an expression of support and coming together. i thought that was important for all of us to be on the same page. we are still people. despite the politics, we are one big family. i think that was important for both of our leaders to share with us. host: there will be additional security briefings happening on monday for congressional leaders. what do you want to hear? guest: i would like to hear an update on security in capitol hill. i feel really safe and i am here. i know they do an excellent job. there have been a couple of times where people have come into our office and they have responded closely. of course, my district is right outside of washington, d.c. so we get some local visitors and
sometimes people are not always happy. so i am looking forward to hearing an update about capital security but also suggestions for ways that we can protect ourselves, our staff, and our constituents when we are in our congressional district. i know i have a full schedule in my district and i intend to keep that. host: have you ever asked for capital protection in your district in the past? guest: we have had them come out to our office to help us look at security issues in our office. this was some time ago so that we could have the right security in place. we have also consulted with them when there had been a call, e- mail message or something that seems out of the ordinary. we consult with capitol police on those issues. we have been in touch more
often than is necessary with our local law enforcement in the two counties i represent, and they have been incredibly responsive at town hall meetings, for example, where there could be the need for more security. host: so you have received threats in the past? guest: we have. last summer at the height of the health-care debate, it was unusually heated. we had a couple of town hall meetings and asked for support from our local law enforcement at those meetings. that was useful to us. helpful and necessary. host: going forward, do you think you will rethink public events in the open, security for them? guest: gabi giffords was doing
exactly what all congressional members should be doing, out in the community having a conversation with their constituents. i intend to meet my own schedule. we will take whatever recommendations are necessary to ensure safety is there. it is important for us to be out there with our constituents, for them to have access to us as well. i hope that as we go forward, we put this into the context in which is appropriate, and where necessary, call on the assistance of local law enforcement, strategic and other force.
host: let's get to our phone calls. fort lauderdale, florida. melvin, democratic line. caller: after the shooting, they should have put up systems to identify the individual. he should not have been able to buy a gun. it is unfortunate that he was able to shoot the congresswoman and kill those people but he a similar thing in than the virginia tech thing. host: you are referring to his mental state? caller: yes, the school identified him as a troubled person. they were afraid of him and put him out of school. host: we need to clarify for our
viewers. under federal law, when it comes to mental state, a court has to show that they are mentally unstable or that they have been institutionalized for them to be prohibited from buying a gun. someone could have sought an evaluation but one was not done, so there was no official about the wish of of his mental state. caller: that is correct. it raises -- guest: that is correct. it raises the question of the obligation of the school, actively making and a violation after they have determined it is not appropriate for this individual to be on campus. not lot actually allows for that. i guess the question is what we
will now begin to think about, in terms of opening up the door and availability of school systems and others to actively seek those evaluations, which would tput on a different track for him to get a fire arm. gabi giffords and i share a lot of ideas but we also differ on other issues, like gun-control. our concern, of course, is with her and the victims, but it is an important avenue of exploration for us, to look at our obligations and requirements, to seek the kind of evaluation that would enable us to deter individuals that should not possess firearms from getting them. host: you served as the co-chair
of the democratic campaign committee program. some have said when it comes to legislation to ban assault weapons, which some plan to introduce in the congress, perhaps as early as this week, that the politics is just not there. there is a lot more red, a conservative, moderate democrats, republicans have taken control of the house, so what is the reality? guest: it is a tough environment but it is an important debate for us to have. the expiration of the assault weapons ban in 2004 has left, as we can see, many of our communities vulnerable. it is important for us to debate that and allow the american people to participate in this
conversation. this is not a conversation about banning hunters from engaging in an outdoor sports activities. this is a conversation about assault weapons with ammunition that is intended to do harm and kill innocent people. host: orange county, california. independent line. caller: of course, my prayers go out to the gifford family. she was a blue dog democrat. i would vote for her. it depends on the policy -- i am not one way or the other. one time i voted for clinton, another time for bush. i hope she recovers. we pray for her every day.
and that said, it is a mental illness that caused this. we have evidence with the virginia tech massacre. he had problems. we had fort hood. this person was kicked out of school because they thought he was a threat. we should probably make laws to address this issue more. more and more teachers can tell they have a problem, but they are ignored. when that person at fort hood made his speeches, they ignored that. i think the democrats had a similar map with targets, like sarah palin did, and i would like to apologize for her. obviously, she did not intend that we should shoot.
i am from florida. maybe we would have oranges on our map. of course she did not want anybody to be shot. she has been unfairly targeted. host: we will leave it there. in the "the new york times" this morning, she sends an e-mail to glenn beck -- host: what is your reaction, what are your thoughts on this back and forth with sarah palin? guest: irrespective of whether the rhetoric contributed to a heated environment in which this
crime would be committed or not -- it is important for us to examine our rhetoric. examine the way we engage in politics and discussions of policy. words have consequences. i think each of us have to look inside ourselves and examine whether our words have contributed to an environment in which people cannot express themselves civilly without engaging in violence, or believing that violence is an alternative to respectful policy discussions. sarah palin has to do that, has to do that, we all have to do that. host: so do you believe that she's shares some
responsibility? guest: in the past two years, the decibel level in our political discourse has gone over the top. i think each of us feel that. we feel that at events where people are acting in a way that is completely disrespectful. we have to look inside ourselves and ask, am i doing something that could be heard in the wrong way or that may enable people to use that as an excuse for bad behavior and disrespect? i have to check myself because the passion i feel about an issue may not be the passion that should be expressed in a political environment. i know that i have done it. sarah palin needs to do it.
glenn beck needs to do it. as leaders, we need to engage in a way that is respectful of each other's and the constitution. host: sherry hall on the independent line. caller: two questions. do you believe the growing economic equality in the u.s. has anything to do with the increasing uncival tone? and if there was one thing that you could change about congress, what would it be? -- uncivil tone? guest: the past decade we have really seen stagnant wages and growth that has not crossed every part of the economy, every person in the economy. i think that these are big pressures on people now.
economic trouble is not something that is new, not an excuse for an environment that is intolerant. at the same time, as members of congress, there are things that we can do, not necessarily to agree with everybody on their policy issues. i may not agree with speaker boehner on every issue, but we have to respect him. we can have policy differences, but it is not personal. those are things that we have some control over in the congress that would enable the nest to get our point across in a way that the american people can appreciate. if we are modeling the kind of behavior in congress that is respectful, we have a better
opportunity to share that with our young people, to share with our constituents. host: what would you change about congress? guest: when you look back at the institution, and other institutions around the world, it is an amazing place where we have been able to debate and create policy. those are good things. if i could change anything, i think we would have a higher level of intellectual engagement. everything is done in this 24- hour news cycle, and sometimes it is important to step back and take a breath and look at the real facts and act on that. not just because it happened to be the last thing you see on the news. host: there has been a call for republicans and democrats to get together for a bipartisan retreat.
democrats were supposed to have their own, republicans as well. have you heard anything about the prospects of that? guest: i have heard about it but nothing more than that. let me say this. there are important and critical policy differences from the republican majority and democrats in congress. it is critical for us to have these discussions to enable the american people to understand what the discussions are. i do not want to do anything to sugar coat the idea that we cannot engage in debate where sometimes people will come out on top, and there will be other opportunities where we can work together. it might be a great idea for us to get together to discuss these ideas but it is also important for us to meet with others along
the same lines to develop policy and engage with republicans on the other side. that will allow the american people to make decisions about the views that they share. host: next phone call is from andrew in virginia. caller: we have heard in the years that we have not had any acts of terrorism since 9/11. i disagree with that. most of the time, people associate terrorism with ideological ideas. we have a very fundamentalist religion in america and it is individual selfishness and self absorption. if i want to own a gun and shoot down other people and spend the rest of my life in jail, that is
my business. that is the freedom we seem to believe in. we are not willing to limit gun laws, not willing to have a discussion about this kind of terrorism. so i want to ask the representative, are you willing to help change the discussion on terrorism, would you agree there are terrorist acts going on in america all the time? guest: i do not know about that. what i will say is as i travel across the country, we have terrific people in the country who have good ideas and who want to share them, who are working hard and are taking care of themselves and families. our job as legislators is to enable the foundation for which that can happen. i do not know if it does any good for us to place labels that
have the potential to alienate people. i want to have a conversation about how we can enable people to take care of themselves and their families, get a job that allows them to get up in the morning and feel good about themselves, pay their mortgages, respect seniors as they age. we are preparing to have another discussion about health care. health care needs to be provided to all american people so they have access to quality care. creating jobs for american people in this country which are not outsourced to another country. important policy debates. we need to engage in those, not for ourselves, but for the american people. host: congress will return this week and have a vote on repealing the health care law. the chamber of commerce is for repealed. they have said they are able to
prove this law is not creating jobs because of the expansive provisions requiring employers to have insurance for their employees. do you have data otherwise? how confident can you be that this is actually creating jobs, or will? guest: in the state of maryland, the governor and health department has a report that says not only are we creating jobs related to the federal health care reform, but we will also save, over 10 years, $800 billion as we implement health care reform. i know that is what our experience is in maryland, and i believe that is the experience across the country. the congressional budget office released a report last week that said the new law would save $230
billion, well over the estimate they gave to us as we were moving reform through congress. when i talk to our small businesses, many of whom are members of local chambers of commerce, they were glad to receive a tax credit last year for providing insurance for their employees. this year on january 1, it became 50% tax credits. that is good for small businesses. i am not sure if the chamber is speaking to all of its members but i have talked to members in my state, my congressional district, and they are pleased in the direction we are going on health care reform. host: alan, an independent in alabama. go ahead. caller: i have a two-part question. when did the politicians of this
country become above the law? i do not care if they are republican or democrat. if you think about sarah palin, a young man was prosecuted for invading her female-mail. host: are you finished? caller: no, i am not. as a politician, you should tell the truth. shame on jon kyl, john mccain, and sarah palin for using that rhetoric to get elected. these people should be banned from our political process. guest: this investigation is ongoing, the motivation in two- tiered loughner.
i am looking forward to law enforcement and prosecutors to shed some light on what motivated him. -- of jared loughner. it is important dial back the level of rhetoric in this country. congresswoman giffords had a sense of being targeted -- in the cross hairs on the fairpac web site, which i believe has now been taken down. apart from all of this tragedy, we have to change the political dialogue in this country. we really must. we have to do it for our constituents and for ourselves as legislators, to enable us to engage in a way that we can make good policy for the american people.
we cannot do that way in -- that when everything is at such a decibel level that it does not allow you to think. that is the responsibility that i bear and that sarah palin bears. host: we are going to draw from, north carolina -- durham, north carolina, on the republican line. caller: i send out my condolences to those involved in this tragedy. we need to put aside our differences. you keep saying you are going to ban this, that we cannot have this type of weapons. as law-abiding citizens, as a citizen in the security field, if you keep banning weapons, how am i going to be able to make an income and support my family? i am putting my life on the line. host: caller, what do you do, specifically? caller: i am and armed security
officer. you can profile everybody. until somebody attacks on the threat, that is the only time you can take charge beauty in bed every weapon in the world, assault weapons, slingshots, -- you can take charge. you can ban every weapon in the world, assault weapons from a slingshot. guest: the gentleman is an armed security guard, licensed, gone to a background check. he should be able to possess a weapon, as he does come in order to do a job. our law enforcement are armed. they go through background checks. they go through training. they're out there to protect us. not everybody is like that. i think that we do need to examine the ways in which we can make sure that people who are mentally unstable, who have
a history that can be demonstrated, reported, and about a week, are not able to possess weapons so that -- and evaluated, are not able to possess weapons so that things do not happen like what happened in tucson. host: convicted felons or those convicted of domestic violence crimes. unlawful users of or addicted to controlled substances. dishonorably discharged. it mentally defective or institutionalized. illegal or unlawful aliens. renounced u.s. citizens. our next caller. caller: i want to change the tenor of the discussion. it has not been shown that people with mental illness are any more likely to kill people that are people without. the best criteria for dangerous
is a previous history of -- dangerousness is a previous history of dangerousness. host: have you read about the things that mr. loughner said and did? do you make of them? what is your psychological analysis? caller: he sounds like he is dangerous because he made threats. host: would you have reported him to this date for evaluation? caller: yes. i had a patient who i told he could not come back because he would not go to the psychiatrist. guest: that is an important consideration. under the law, there is an opportunity for those in a position, whether at the university or community college, a parent, a relative -- they can
make a request for a psychological evaluation and determination. it is not a mental illness, per se, but there is a procedure that can be gone through. there can be a court order in place that prevents the person who has demonstrated to be dangerous to himself or to others not to be able to possess a firearm. i know that the law that one senator had passed regarding domestic violence offenders is one on which i worked really hard with him, long before i came into the congress. it has prevented literally thousands of domestic violence offenders from purchasing and possessing firearms. host: here is a tweet from american hero who writes, "the second amendment says the right of the government to be armed shall not be infringed." guest: these are important constitutional considerations.
it is why we have a process where we can pass laws in congress and the court can review them and make sure they're in consideration of the constitution. but the reality is that we do have the ability to regulate the availability and distribution of firearms. that does not mean that it is an unlimited ability, but we do have that capacity under the constitution. i would hope we use that to the fullest to prevent tragedies like those -- like the one that occurred in tucson. i know we can do that. there is no reason that this gentleman should have been able to go into a walmart and buy an extended clip of ammunition that allowed him to fire repeatedly and kill and injure in the way it did.
should not happen in this country. host: congresswomen edwards represents the fourth district of ohio. caller: the really think that sarah palin, glenn beck, rush limbaugh -- do you really think that's their opinion, glenn beck, russ limbaugh -- that sarah palin, glenn beck, rush limbaugh had anything to do with this? why did they go so far to regulate things they disagree with? guest: at no time have i suggested that sarah palin, glenn beck, or anybody had anything to do with that. what i did said that a separate and apart from this tragedy is that it is akin -- incumbent upon all of us to consider what we say and how we say it. that is not somebody limiting my speech. that is me looking at what is
appropriate for me as a lawmaker. host: i think the caller might have been referring to legislation put forth which makes it a federal crime to say something or use symbolism which would incite violence against a member of congress or a federal judge. we had a caller earlier this morning react to that setting that is not the correct thing to do. members of congress should be on our level. if you make that kind of law, there are no longer on the people's level. we should be able to savings -- say things and be critical of members of congress. guest: we do have laws on the books regarding threats. a threat is an assault. it requires proof and it requires intent. it is important for us to look at -- if we look at anything prospectively that might need to be changed, we have to do that in consideration of what other
laws are already on the books and enforce them. we have to be careful on treading on the ability of any of my constituents from saying things, even shouting things out to me at town hall meeting. that is the essence of democracy. we all know that there is a line that can be crossed when that shout-out becomes a tangible threat to the life or safety to anybody who receives it. that is a different kind of line. i do not have any fear of going to a town hall meeting or a coffee conversation with someone who expresses, in a passionate and loud way, their thoughts and feelings. i think people should be able to do that. host: how do you -- do you fear for your staff's safety? guest: i do not.
we have an obligation to be vigilant, to monitor our mail, our e-mail, our telephone calls, to make sure we can a follow up on anything weppears out of the ordinary -- anything that appears out of the ordinary. we discussed this as a staff. we have a series of meetings with constituents, a town hall meetings, a copy conversations, greeting people -- town hall meetings, coffee conversations, greeting people at the grocery stores. we will continue to do that. we will do what it takes to make sure that we are safe, but we're not going to go overboard so that it prevents us from reaching out to constituents. host: a caller from maryland on the independent line. caller: good morning. i want to clear something up.
when you are talking about assault weapons -- the salt is actually covered. a gun cannot assault anybody. you are talking about rhetoric -- how people need to watch how they speak, be respectful to the constitution in the manner that they speak. when our politicians going to start being respectful to the constitution in how they act, in the laws they pass? the second amendment has "john not be infringed." where does it say that the government -- the lawmakers are exempt from "shall not be infringed"? the other thing i want to mention is that the information i saw earlier -- that you guys read about the "washington post " where they got their information -- their information is wrong. violent crime has gone down considerably recently,
especially in d.c. you may even be able to find somewhere where a recent poll shows that it was down to the lowest it has been in over 40 years. there has to be a correlation between people arming themselves and the crime rate going down. that is shown all over the country, not just in d.c. the other thing is -- host: we want to get a reaction from the congresswoman. guest: first of all, i think all of us -- as we can see, this debate about the application or not of the second amendment is an important one to engage. i look forward to that. i also believe that we have an obligation to protect, to make sure that citizens are safe in all of our communities. and georges county, a county that i represent, we have already had 10 -- prince
georges county, a county that i represent, has already had 10 homicides this year. with respect to the crime rate, we know there have been variations in the crime rate over periods of time. experiencing a good period right now does not mean there aren't things we need to do at this time. host: to that caller's point, there is a graph of when the handgun ban aand tri -- and trigger-lock law became effective. new can see that it goes down or when that ban was overturned -- you can see that it goes down when that ban was overturned. there was
containment taking place on gang violence. we cannot go from a correlation of what is happening with the gun laws to crime on the streets. it does not mean we do not need to do something about both of those things. host: new jersey, matthew, democrat line. caller: there's an article on reuters that the united states is the most-armed country in the world -- 90 guns for every 100 people. that is scary. to you think the shootings and -- do you think the shootings and the planes flying into buildings are not terrorist attacks? guest: we have a statute that defines domestic terrorism. i believe that i heard the directors say the other day that the charges that have been brought against mr. loughgren
did not preclude -- loughner did not preclude other charges being brought under the terrorist act. the number of guns per 100 americans -- 90 per 100 americans -- for my family, it means somebody else has our guns. it is a lot of guns. it should give us pause. net talk to my uncle in north carolina, i say to him -- when i talk to my uncle in north carolina, i say to him, i am not going to take your rifle. what we do with handguns and assault rifles is another story. host: thomas on the democratic line. good morning. caller: i believe high-caliber weapons should be banned. my dad was a new york city policeman.
he aided the nra because they were against banned -- hated the nra because they were against banning the hollow-point bullets. i believe it was criminally- irresponsible of bush to allow the assault-weapons ban to expire. in florida, our former governor doug bush passed a law that anyone can shoot and kill the they are believe -- governor jeb bush passed a law that anyone can shoot and kill if they believed they are under a threat -- believe they are under a threat. guest: i have put on the table what i would like to see for gun laws. do you think there is any regulation at all a that you atccept -- at all tha tyou
would accept -- that you would accept as regulation of guns? i have said what i am for and against. i want to hear from the nra. tell me what you are force of the american people can be saved. host: donna edwards, thank you. coming up, simplifying the tax code, changing the tax law. nina olson, the advocate for the national taxpayer -- the national taxpayer's advocate, is calling for that from congress. first, an update from c-span3 deal. >> an update on the condition -- a condition of gabrielle giffords. one of the doctors treating her, in an interview earlier on nbc's "today" show, said there was no change in her condition overnight. a cat scan shows no increase in
the swelling. he went on to say that the fact that her response to commands indicates there is not a lot of pressure and in the brain. politico reports that the draft a resolution honoring congresswoman giffords and the other victims of saturday's shooting will become publicly available today. house meets for pro forma session this afternoon and will consider the resolution tomorrow. house chaplain father daniel coughlin is expected to retire soon. he was the first catholic priest to serve as house chaplain. he has the power to appoint a chaplain. reason practice is to form a bipartisan committee to vet applicants. the panel for the oil spill will release a report today.
they said that oversight is needed to avert another catastrophic incident off shore. those are some of the latest headlines on c-span radio. >> there is a new way for you to follow congress -- with c-span's congressional chronicle. track the daily for timelines, read transcripts, and find a full video archive of each member. it is washington, your way. "washington journal" continues. host: we're welcoming back nina olson, irs national taxpayer advocate. this is your tent report to congress. in part of this, you talk about the new health care law. is the irs prepared, and what will be the role of the irs under this new health care law? guest: the irs is prepared -- as prepared as anyone can be where an infrastructure is not in
place. we try to cover in the report -- to outline what would be expected of the irs. it is going to be the interface for many taxpayers four major provisions. the subsidy to individuals to help purchase health insurance, the subsidy to small businesses to help their employees purchased and pay for health insurance -- purchase and pay for health insurance. on the other hand, it will also be the disciplinarian, if you will, for small businesses -- or businesses, not small, other businesses, if they are not covering their employees and an employee qualifies for the subsidy, there will be a tax penalty. then, of course, there is the individual mandate, which is basically saying, if you are not -- if you are an individual and you do not have health insurance, either through your
employer or you yourself purchasing them, and you're not low-income and me a number of other exclusions, you will have -- and a member of other exclusions, you will have a tax penalty. that put the irs right in the middle of this. host: "this will be bigger than y2k for the irs to implement." what do you think? guest: i don't know how big y2k was. i have been in practice since 1975. it is certainly the most major social program that we have undertaken. that really is my point. the irs needs to understand that, contrary to what some people say about hiring 16,000 auditors and collection agents, we need to hire the commensurate number of personnel who are comfortable dealing with people
on the social issues, on the issues of health needs as opposed to audits and collections. that does require the irs to get out of, for this provision, its collection-revenue mentality and enforcement mentality into more of a social-program mentality. that is going to be a big change, but it is one that is needed, because we're delivering some and programs. host: what does that mean for an irs agent and how people view an agent, when you say they will be in charge of social programs and social benefits? to some, that may sound like a welfare agent. guest: we are already in charge of some social benefits. the earned income tax credit, the home mortgage deduction. we have all sorts of provisions that deal with specific
industries and require a great knowledge of the actual industry. we cited one in the annual meeting -- to have harmonious facades on the building to decide whether you are qualified for a conservation easement. these are skills that the average irs employee does not have. before having to adapt to that -- we are having to adapt to that. i do not think that is a bad thing. at think it is possible to collect taxes on the one hand -- i think it is possible to collect taxes, on the one hand, and be compassionate and listen to the taxpayer. there are certain programs that are required, because of the population and the subject matter, where you do need more skills. other countries may hire different types of employees to deal with different phases of each program. the irs is sort of behind on that. we need to adapt to that.
i think that health care is a wake-up call to us. we should have been doing at all along. host: house republicans are concerned about how much this is going to cost or the irs to implement. they put the figure at about $9 billion for the irs and the hhs. cbo has put the figure at $5 billion to $10 billion over the next 10 years. is that number to high or too low? -- too high or too low? guest: i have no idea. we tried to map out the processes the irs will have to go through and what interphase it will have with the different taxpayers. that is the basis of saying whether we need new employees or whether it can be built into existing systems. do we need new systems? that is what the irs is doing -- really, a scoping effort.
it is working closely with a jazz and other agencies to get a sense of how this might be implemented. host: we're talking with nina olson, the national taxpayer advocate. they have their national report for 2010 out to congress. "taxpayer advocate service -- your voice with the irs." this is volume one. it is quite thick. are there more? guest: we actually always publish two volumes. it is very important for taxpayers to understand what is going on in the tax agency. when we do a research study, we published it so everybody can read it -- publish it so everybody can read it. host: have these reports had an impact? guest: they have had an impact.
i just got something in the mail last night. i noticed that, going forward, they are required to report the basis -- the cost basis and the adjusted basis in shares that you have purchased and whether their long-term capital gains -- and they are long-term capital gains or short term. from as a result recommendation several years ago. you can pick your -- look at your end-of-year report to see the base price and the stock price. host: the taxpayer advocate service is recommending changes to the tax system, including reductions in loopholes and deductions for mortgage and health insurance.
ohio, leonard, a democrat. caller: good morning. out of curiosity, within the changing for health care and creating the amount of dollars that will be spent and the growth of the irs into the public, how will the smaller citizens of our country that do not file taxes because they do not make the money, they have been unemployed for many years, they are just barely surviving with their families -- how are we going to be able to qualify for this health care? instead of spending the $5 billion or whatever amount of money for government employment, how will we survive? guest: that comment raises lots of issues.
let me speak specifically about those people who are not filing. those are the kinds of issues we are trying to figure out, whether we create a separate form for those people. without filing an income-tax return, they could still apply for the subsidies. many of these provisions still not -- do not go into effect until 2014. these are precisely the kinds of issues that the irs and others are trying to figure out. the other question you raised about government employees and programs put into the tax code, particularly something that we have talked about in this report -- the growth of what we call "tax expenditures." congress has a choice when they want to create a program between doing a direct-spending program or doing something called the tax-expenditure, namely putting that program through the internal revenue code and giving someone a tax break or actually
paying money back for the internal revenue code in the form of a tax credit for coming in the health care reform, it is part of your insurance premium -- of a tax credit, or, as part of your health care reform, it is part of your insurance premium. it means that the code becomes much more complex and more confusing to taxpayers. it can make you feel disaffected. host: in this report, it costs $162 billion per year to prepare our taxes. the tax code is nearly five times as long as the bible. it says here that nina olson's office and did -- office did the word count and found that it is about 80% more than the word
count of 2005. guest: the dollar amount -- we took the irs estimates and the omb estimates for individual and business income tax returns and said, how many hours does that take by the number of those kinds of tax payers? then we divide that by numbers of full-time hours of employment. then we do a statistical estimate of the dollar value on average for worker in the united states. in fact, what we estimate is that the average individual taxpayer spends $259 per year just on either income-tax preparing, purchasing a software package, their own expenditures for record keeping, things like that, which is up quite substantially from several years before. host: you estimated 6.1 billion hours spent preparing our taxes.
the equivalent of 3 million full-time jobs. one publication notice that the country's biggest employer as 2.1 million employees. lizzie, santa clara, california, the republican line. caller: i am a very high taxpayer in california. i could not rely on and the information given to me by any officer of the irs -- on any information given to me by any officer of the irs to be correct. i am happy we have a congress that will not fund the irs to get the power to become the kgb of america. host: let's get the impact -- what is the impact of no funding? guest: i started representing
people before i became the ira's national taxpayer's advocate -- the irs national taxpayer's advocate. they are wrestling with this gargantuan cola that congress has created and that no one seems to want to bring clarity to -- gargantuan code that congress has created and that no one seemed to want to bring clarity to. it is true that, over the phone, they say that you cannot just rely specifically on what the irs says. that is a sad comment on the complexity of the code putati. to call the irs the kgb, i find personally offensive. they are drawn to do their job. i think taxpayers and the irs
need to really think about what their relationship is and -- we have to have a conversation in this country about what taxes provide the people. it is easy to say, well, someone else is getting a benefit i'm not. part of what the report is about is that we're all getting benefits. the irs does an extremely good job doing that. i have spent most of my waking hours helping the irs, sometimes brow beating the irs to do a better job. i think they do an extraordinary job, given what they are delivered. i disagree with the caller. host: nina olson, here is a treat. "it is a proven fact that a flat tax hurts the middle class.
it cripples those near poverty level and it is a boon for the rich." guest: some of what we have said in the report has not been reported accurately, specifically what we said about tax reform. we say that you need to recognize that everyone benefits from the provisions in the code. the tax expenditures in the code -- number one is the exclusion from taxable income of employer- provided health care insurance, health care expenses, or long- term care. you can go down the list to retirement savings and the earnings on retirement savings. the home-mortgage deduction. certain medicare exclusions. the preferential rates on capital gains. the list just goes on. these are things that many middle-class taxpayers -- for health care -- low-wage workers
often benefit from those things. if you really wanted to structural reform in the tax code, you have to start by saying, let's put everything on the table, including the sacred cows, and really go through the list. what really needs to be in the tax code? what is the compelling reason for this? many of these provisions have very good public-policy reasons, but the question is should bay -- they be in the internal revenue service code. i can tell you what happens if you put them in the code. i can describe what kind of torture we would give to taxpayers and two irs employees -- to irs employees. after that, you can talk about the rates. the need to raise or lower revenue -- do you need to raise
or lower revenue? if you go to that issue, you will never get structural tax reform. everyone will start shouting. everyone will go to their dais. we will never get structured income tax reform. host: what if we eliminate that entirely? guest: that is a government decision. there has been a decision about the size of government. we have got thing comments about the national sales tax, value- added tax, tax consumption -- there is always one way to go. it has not gotten a lot of purchased in the congress. host: clearwater, fla., independent. paula dow much good morning. how are you guys doing? i have some questions --
caller: good morning. are you guys doing? i have some questions. the minimum requirement is income taxes -- that is basically what we pay. that would be the absolute minimum. my question is, for the upcoming gop takeover in the house -- is more of a theoretical question -- with estate taxes, debt reduction them and the settlement of debt, how will they factor in -- debt reduction, and the settlement of that, how will they factor in the extension of medicare, social security benefits? how do you view these tax changes -- preserve these tax changes to preserve medicare and social security? the only kgb police state that seems to be happening in the united states is the sb-1070
upholding of the law. host: we have to leave it there. guest: my position is described in the internal revenue code. i am not trying to dodge your question by saying it is not in my jurisdiction to comment on social security or medicare. i will say, in identifying the need for tax reform as the reformone most -- for tax reform as the number one need for taxpayers, we talked about taking on the tax code at the same time as social security and medicare. we actually came down on a different -- to a different approach. some of it was because i was listening to some of the dialogue. like i say, i have been in
taxes since 1995 -- 1975. i have witnessed several major reforms of the tax code. when you talk about whether we need to raise revenue or should have less revenue or larger government or a smaller government, you never get to that type of tax reform that i think we need, which is really making the system itself much simpler. i really believe that we need to start by saying, what should be done through the code? what is the definition of a family? how should we recognize the cost of running a family through the internal revenue code, etc.? then, once you have decided on structure -- you can have parallel conversations. someone can look at what it is going to take to deal with medicare and social security. you bring those together at the end to have a dialogue. given the new tax structure and
our knowledge of what we need for social security and medicare, here is where we have to raise revenue. can we do it by setting the rates in such a way that we would not have to raise revenue? that is way beyond me to say. i really feel that we have to focus on tax reform. that is a crying need that impacts every single taxpayer, whether their individual, business, small business, large business. tax-exempt entities struggle with this all the time. host: un -- you identified these positions, these 16,000 new allocated-agent positions as social workers, averaging 300 per state. where will they office? job description? guest: i did not identify 16,000
positions. we say the irs needs to think deeply about the qualifications and skills of those workers. that needs to be because of the -- be done because of the code we have now. one thing i am concerned about -- going back to your question of what has changed over the last 10 years, i have seen a real drawing-away of the irs. by the irs becoming more distant from taxpayers and consolidating its employees in large call centers and things like that, it enables the taxpayer to not feel any connection to the duty of paying taxes. i would like to see them in the community. when you go to the grocery store, your neighbor is an irs worker pd cannot call them --
and ira's worker. you cannot call them names. he would not do that with your neighbor. -- you would not do that with your neighbor. host: you're on the line. caller: i am a past tax preparer from h&r block. you had to have all of your credentials. there is a new program that requires all tax preparers to register and give what is called a p-10. as part of that program, i have taken a webinar class from the irs. it looked to me like they were laying more responsibilities on the tax preparers to question their clients over the information that they bring in.
a lot of this surrounds the earned-income credit because there is so much money involved. there is a lot of fraud. it would appear that we have to do some really serious questioning of our clients. there is a $5,000 fine. there is possible criminal and jail penalties if you don't perform this duty correctly. host: all right. nina olson? guest: i am glad you raised that. in 2002, we reported to congress that they should enact a law to require the irs to regulate return preparers, requiring them to register so we know who is preparing returns. enrolled agents have already
taken a test to practice before the irs. we now require the an enrolled agent to demonstrate minimum competency -- require an enrolled agent to demonstrate minimum competency, some base- level competency. we modeled this after the kind of training that h&r block did for their own employees. now, the irs has, in fact, finally implemented this. it took eight years to act on my recommendation, but i am glad that they did it. congress tried to pass some laws about it. we talk about putting extra burdens on preparers. we are looking at -- congress did enact a law that said for the end -- a law that said for
the earned-income tax credit -- it is basically one of the largest anti-poverty programs in the government today. we have a high rate of error in that. congress enacted a law that said the irs could require the prepares to do some due diligence -- preparers to do some due diligence or get a penalty. there are rules for what repairs rs should berepare asking taxpayers. you see these people face to face. there is no better moment than, in the act of preparing the return -- than in the act of p reparing the return to ask to
see certain documentation. that is far better than doing it in and auditing environment. this is an ounce of prevention. you're getting paid -- making a living off of the tax system. we do not want to place an undue burden. where we have demonstrated noncompliance, it seems to me that turning to the preparers who have that point-of-sale contact with the taxpayer, that there can be certain due diligence requirements placed on the preparers. host: let's go to another caller. good morning. caller: i think once you hit 65 -- the age where you draw social security -- you should not have to pay taxes. i would like to know what your opinion is on that. host: what would be the impact
on that? -- of that? guest: i do know that, as the tail end of the baby boomer generation, we are big. we are turning 65 as we speak. it would have a financial impact. i think that sound principles of tax administration, basically -- the more comprehensive the base of income, the more reasonable the tax rate. if you exclude people over 65 from paying any tax whatsoever on their retirement or the money they are pulling at of savings or their capital gains -- out of savings or their capital gains, that mean that everybody else will pay a higher rate. i do think that is a question -- questions.olciyicy
those are not questions that i make decisions about. those are addressed in the congress, on capitol hill, but there are states that give exemptions to people over 65. there are tax expenditures. make no mistake. that is a break tha tyou -- that you get. host: "does the irs collect taxes on the billions of dollars accrued annually by private security -- private military security contractors?" guest: i am not aware of specific exclusions for military security contractors. the law -- if congress has passed a law that gives exclusions, then no. n offsethas a
program. if we find that a military or other government contractor is actually getting payments for their services and yet they owe tax debts, we have a matching program. we will intercept that payment to apply it to the backs tax debt -- back tax debt. host: if i exchange a car for two motorcycles, i should not pay a tax because there is no gain. why do i have to pay tax when i change my time and knowledge, is what sometimes, for a few pieces of paper that are called american dollars? guest: there is a question that the court has said, roundly, has no credence. earnings are taxable.
if you did what was called a like-kind exchange, it may not be taxable at the moment of the swap because progress carved out the statutory exception -- congress carved out a statutory exceptions. host: we have about 10 minutes left. caller: good morning. thank you for taking my call. if you're going to put yourself into social issues of people's lives such as health care, i would like to see congress enact a law that said, if you're a federal employee in the make a decision on t -- and you make a decision on taxes or whatever,
that he become liable -- you become liable. guest: you may not know this. in the internal revenue service, there are several laws that old, for example, irs collection employees liable for their negligence. if an irs employee makes an error on their return or violates the internal revenue laws of either federal or state, the requirement is that they are terminated from employment unless there are mitigating circumstances. irs employees are held to a very high standard. i am not doing anything about bringing social programs into the code. i do not pass the laws. the irs itself is not making this up. the irs is on the receiving end of the legislation that congress passes.
that is part of the problem. that is why we are trying to bring attention to this. what does it do not just to the irs but also the taxpayers when you pass these things? host: we have a caller from north carolina. you are on the air with nina olson. caller: i have a question to ask. if you are disabled -- disability, on disability, will you have are res on your -- a raise in disability or social security? you get a letter back from the insurance. your raise -- your insurance increase is higher than your raise. host: just a reminder to turn your television down. nina olson? guest: that is a sad situation. i am sorry about that. i am not sure there is anything
that the irs or i could do about that, but i am sorry. host: next caller, on the independent line. caller: as far as an advocate, you are an advocate for taxpayers, correct? if the taxpayers were to be bringing up an issue over and over again, wouldn't you bring this issue to the irs or to whomever you report to in order to make these changes? guest: but we do -- we exercised our independent judgment as to the merits of that suggestion. if we find it meritless, then we would not raise it. caller: my question is on the death tax. it seems like this is double taxation. this is income that has been attacked before. -- taxed before. i would like to get your
personal thoughts on that. guest: the complexity in the tax administration -- what congress has told me in the internal revenue code, the charge they have given me is to identify and assist taxpayers with the problems they have with the irs and to make administrative and legislative recommendations to mitigate those problems. it is within the tax administration, not policy. where is it confusing? where is it difficult for taxpayers to comply? that is where i would make recommendations. as far as the existence of whether we have an estate tax or what the levels should be, that is not my jurisdiction. i would be out of place to express my personal opinions on that. it matters not a whit in terms of my job. host: "why would you ask
questions of the port and not of the rich who have more to hide? more loopholes and tax cuts, more opportunity to cheat?" guest: we did make a point of that. it discriminates against people who cannot afford expensive tax advice. i was speaking specifically about the earned income tax credit. the irs is bringing several prosecutions of the divisors of people who were participating in what we call tax shelters both offshore -- ubs is one example -- several tax shelters. we have an office of federal responsibility that can remove someone's ability to practice before the internal revenue service if they give improper
advice. there is accountability at both levels. i applaud the irs that there is a higher percentage -- there is an increasing percentage of audits focusing on high-income returns. caller: good morning, c-span. thank you for being here. nina, i am disturbed by a lot of the answers you have offered. you're employed by the irs and you have a conflict of interest. you are going to do what is best for your boss, which is the guy in charge of the irs. host: let's get a response. guest: those accusations were made before 1998.
in 1998, congress enacted a major restructuring bill of the irs. the law says that i am appointed by the secretary of the treasury, that i am a direct report with access to taxpayer information so i am able to help taxpayers. i can only be fired by the secretary of the treasury. i have served under five secretaries of the treasury so far. i have a requirement that says that i cannot work for the irs for five years after i take this position and for two years before i took this position. i came from outside the irs where are represented taxpayers -- i represented taxpayers when i need this position, i will not have a career path inside the irs -- i represented taxpayers. when i leave this position, i will not have a career path inside the irs.
it is an uncensored perspective of mine in that report. as far as advocating for taxpayers, we had almost 300,000 cases where taxpayers experienced significant hardship and we had relief rate of about 75% -- we got relief for taxpayers where they were not able to get relief before. i stand by our advocacy. if you talk to certain irs employees, they will tell you that they vigorously disagree with my position. we have a civil dialogue. i think that i maintain my independence very well. i regard it very carefully. host: we have been putting up the advocacy line for people to call in case they have an irish question. can he explain inflation tax -- -an irs question.
can you explain the inflation tax? guest: if we do structural reform, that is something we should look at. if you purchased a stock 40 years ago with certain dollars and then what do those dollars become today? it is a policy called, but legitimate. we recommended in the report -- we have a website where we asked people to give us suggestions about tax reform. we post them periodically. host: nina olson, thank you. guest: thank you. host: happening now, the national commission on the bp deepwater horizon spill is holding a press conference about their final report. these commissioners will be staying offshore oil spill pre vention is